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Gov. Pataki moves to allow cameras in state courts

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  1. Court Access

    NMU         NEW YORK         Broadcasting         Mar 17, 2000    

Gov. Pataki moves to allow cameras in state courts

  • The governor has proposed legislation that would allow cameras in New York courtrooms again for an experimental two-year period.

Saying that the televising of the Amadou Diallo murder trial in Albany demonstrated that “appropriate, televised coverage of courtroom proceedings provides undeniable benefits to the people of our state,” Gov. George Pataki said on March 16 that he believes that the state legislature should pass a bill allowing cameras in New York’s courtrooms for a two-year experimental period, according to the Associated Press.

Pataki said that his proposed legislation would allow cameras statewide while providing for addition protection for children and abuse victims, whose testimony could not be televised unless the trial judge found that the benefits of television coverage substantially outweighed the risks of allowing such coverage, according to AP. The governor’s bill would also allow witnesses who were not parties to the litigation in criminal and family courts to choose to have their images blurred so as not to be recognized.

According to the AP report, Pataki’s proposed legislation would take effect immediately and would be in effect for two years.

Pataki has previously said that he favors allowing cameras in state courts, and he and New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani had both praised the decision to allow cameras to televise the Diallo trial, saying that the public benefitted from seeing the legal arguments and not having to rely on second-hand versions of the controversial courtroom events.

© 2000 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

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